a gathering place for the words, images and momentos of the world of adventures i've adventured, the stories i've wandered through. curriculum bella vita...a resume, of sorts, of the good life.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Will Me?

I recently created my first will that was not presumably invalid. Kind of exciting! I can only show off my favorite paragraph, though, otherwise there'd likely be hordes of folks trying to knock me off to get their hands on my sweet, sweet stuff.

Modest much, Jeremy?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How the States Got Their Shapes

Not much i like more than maps. But maps with answers? Oh-la-la.

How the States Got Their Shapes

Mark Stein

My latest public library check-out answers two of the most pressing questions of my existence:

1. Why is the upper peninsula part of Michigan, not Wisconsin?

(This one i actually learned years ago, thanks to a little snippit in the Journal-Sentinel. According to the paperwork that founded the Northwest territories, the boundary between Michigan and Ohio was supposed to be a straight line east and west from the bottom of Lake Michigan. But Ohio wanted Toledo, a good port, just north of that line. So two territorial armies stared each other down until Washington stepped in with a compromise: Ohio, you take Toledo; Michigan, we'll give you the copper mines of the Upper Peninsula, seeing as no one yet lives in Wisconsin to complain.)

2. Why does Minnesota have that little bloop above it's border north of the Boundary Waters?

A treaty between the US and Canada defined the boundary as the midpoint of a long string of lakes extending as far as Lake of the Woods. From the far northwest corner of that system of lakes, the border ran to the headwaters of the Mississippi. But this was back in the day before GoogleEarth, so no one really knew where the headwaters was in relationship to the Lake of the Woods. So they settled on a north/south line straight to the 49th parallel, the normal border all the way out to Washington State. Just happened the original point of origin was north of that line. So it goes.

Plus you get good maps, like "connecticut according to connecticut."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Updating an Old Map

My favorite random prerequisite class from undergraduate days? Geology of the National Parks.

One project, in between geology lessons based on pretty pictures, was customizing a geologic map of the amazing United States of America. I added, in red lines, the path of my travels.

But that was almost ten years ago - yikes - so when I found it in the way-back of my closet while cleaning/packing, i decided to update it before ceremoniously burning it in the wood stove. In sharpie, the places i've explored since Fall 2001.

The noticeable yet-to-explore areas of our country? California and Oregon, Texas, and the Northeast. All will come in time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why Fond du Lac lacks a brewery

Whitney, Rachel, Martin (invisible) and I celebrated MLK Jr Day with a trip to little Potosi, almost all the way to Iowa. A cute little brewery in a quaint valley abutting the Mississippi River, definitely a fun place for a road trip.

But if little Pososi has a brewery (not to mention the National Brewery Museum), why can't my hometown of 50 times more people have a brewery?

Fond du Lac, it turns out, has a long brewing tradition. It's just that it's disappeared.

A model train brewery kit is even modeled after what one FDL brewery used to look like.

Only one brewer, Bechaud Brewing, made it through the Prohibition. But only barely. Beer was last made in Fond du Lac in 1937. Their most famous brew, says the internet, was Empire Beer.

Cheers to that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Potosi: New Favorite Madison Day-Trip

The Potosi Brewing Company, in short, is what you hope New Glarus is, until you realize that the New Glarus Brewery isn't quiet as quaint as you'd imagine it to be...

While the town of New Glarus (45 minutes southwest of Madison on 151/69) is cute to visit in its own right, the brewery of the same name lacks the charm you'd imagine from Wisconsin's favorite microbrewery. The beers, it turns out, are more special than where they're made.

Potosi, though, solves the dilemma. The village of Potosi (1 hour, 45 minutes southwest of Madison via 151/35/133) is scenic in its own right, and the brewery is something worth boasting, too. Great restaurant, neat museum exhibits - the perfect place for an out-of-Madison daytrip.

And worth a stop on the drive there? The Dickeyville Grotto. Wow.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Broomball Oh-Ten

We Were Surprised When It Didn't Work...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Smith-Corona: Sterling

I have a new friend. My new friend gives my day meaning. My new friend cost $5 at the Oshkosh St. Vinnies. My new friend is a 1965(ish) Smith-Corona Sterling. A beauty. She works like a charm, without a single defect.

I take my new typewriter with me wherever I go. In December it was decorating half of Rachel's wall during an Ugly Sweater Party. New Years eve? Came up north with us to Nick's cabin. And there we set about, among other things, to understanding why the seven of us were in the room.

It started small:

But our ambitions grew:

Looking to make your own typewriter art? Great. Here's a suggestion, though. Instead of folding your paper over, use a square of paper with a diagonal that's just short enough to fit into the typewriter. Here's the formula: